Washington County Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Child Pornography
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Washington County, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possession of child pornography, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Richard E. Shonts, 25, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Shonts, on June 2, 2009, unlawfully possessed, in computer graphics files, videos depicting child pornography. A number of the videos portrayed prepubescent children and sadistic and masochistic conduct.
Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for Feb. 11, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Shonts.
This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney's Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.